In Oakland, veteran Bruce Irvin finds smack-talking, kindred spirit in Jon Gruden
Bruce Irvin’s pass-rushing ability and trash-talking have jived well with new coach Jon Gruden.
11:17 AM ET
ALAMEDA, Calif. — You could say these are bright times for Bruce Irvin, who has had his share of dark days in his life.
Since the end of last season, he has earned a degree, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college, made a much-desired position switch from outside linebacker to defensive end and maybe, just maybe, found a kindred spirit in returning Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
“He talks s— like I talk s—, so we get along,” Irvin said.
Irvin came to Oakland as a free agent in 2016 after four star-crossed seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, which included an eight-sack rookie season, a Super Bowl championship and another trip to the Super Bowl.
Initially an edge-rusher, Irvin made the switch to outside linebacker despite his concerns that he was not “smart enough” to play in coverages. Ken Norton Jr., then his position coach in Seattle and later his defensive coordinator in Oakland, admonished his pupil, telling him to never admit such a thing.
Besides, Norton told Irvin, he was capable of playing linebacker.